One of the harsh realities that Celtic fans have grown to accept is the club’s current position in the landscape of world and European football.
Celtic’s position as a selling club is a frustrating one, with the top quality players we have at Parkhead getting harder to tie down as the years go on. In recent years, some of the staples of Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic revolution have come and gone and it seems like more could be on their way.
One thing Celtic have done well, though, is be adaptive in the transfer market and have adequately replaced those who have gone for big money. With Carl Starfelt being the latest to move on and replacements already being lined up, it begs the question, just how well have Celtic replaced the core of the team that brought the club back to the top of Scottish football?
Arguably the most important player to have departed from Ange’s team, Jota’s exit was unexpected. Fabrizio Romano has reported that the club weren’t prepared for Jota’s departure as it took a monumental offer worth £25 million to prise the Portuguese from Celtic.
This is also evident in the fact that with most players who have left Parkhead in recent years there has always been a replacement lined up, often signed before the player leaving is even out the door. In this case, as Celtic were caught completely off-guard by the offer, a replacement wasn’t lined up as everything happened so quickly.
However, the club has brought in two wingers in this summer transfer window with Yang Hyun-Jun arriving from Gangwon FC, and Marco Tilio joining from Melbourne City for a combined fee of £3.6 million. Whilst the pair may not exactly be Jota level signings on paper, the replacement for Jota may well be what already lies at the club.
After taking a backseat for the second portion of last season whilst interest in his signature started to gain traction, Liel Abada could be the man to take on the pressure of picking up where the Portuguese left off and become the focal point of Celtic’s wide areas.
He is the type of player Brendan Rodgers likes, and reports of Rodgers having a heart-to-heart with the Israeli to convince him to stay at Celtic could just see Abada step up his game to even higher levels this season. He has the potential to do just that, and as the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds.
After setting the world alight as perhaps the first settled starting full-back the club has had since Mikael Lustig, Josip Juranovic was consistency personified at Celtic.
Some starring displays at the 2022 Qatar World Cup meant that keeping a hold of the Croatian was an almost impossible task. Replacing what he brought to the team seemed like an even tougher task, but Celtic replaced him before he was even out the door.
Juranovic recalled being taken by surprise when he read the rumours of Celtic’s interest in the then Montreal right-back. Alistair Johnston replaced the Croat who moved on to Union Berlin in January and was thrown into the ring of fire when he made his debut at Ibrox.
A solid performance in the toughest test of all as a Celtic player was the perfect starting point as Johnston went on to become a fan favourite and one of the most assured faces in the Celtic lineup.
Whilst perhaps not being a nailed-on starter at the club, the impact that Giakoumakis could have on a game at any moment cannot be understated. The importance of having a forward on the bench who can be introduced to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and get a goal became a potent weapon for Ange Postecoglou.
This is why Giakoumakis may have been one of the hardest players of all to replace. However, his replacement has started life at Celtic well.
Six years younger than the Greek and with a goals-per-minute ratio that can almost match him, Oh Hyeon-Gyu has the potential to be an important player at Celtic, if he isn’t that already.
Whilst his minutes at the club are bound to be limited due to playing in the same position as the talismanic Kyogo Furuhashi, he hasn’t let it affect him. Possessing more strings to his bow and great technical ability, Oh has the chance to perhaps surpass what Giakoumakis brought to Celtic in the first place, with the advantage of a potentially high sell-on value in the future if he continues at this upwards trajectory.